Behavior Modification: Dentures
Behavior Modification is the application of conditioning
techniques to teach new responses or to reduce or eliminate maladaptive or
problematic behavior. Conditioning
techniques are a basic kind of learning that involves associations between
environmental stimuli and the human’s responses. Maladaptive is derived from adaptive which
means adjustments made in respect to their environment, such as behavioral
changes and maladaptive is defined as showing faulty adaptation. Problematic is derived from problem which is
a matter difficult to deal with or solve and in turn means open to doubt or
Now that I have defined behavior modification, I would like
to share a case study I performed while in a psychology class in
College located in
I chose to use differential reinforcement which is the
process by which the frequency of a desirable behavior is increased while the undesirable
alternative behaviors are eliminated.
Differential reinforcement is used when the desired behavior already
occurs occasionally and when there is an available reinforcer.
My subject became my husband because I spent most of my time
with him. He had a partial denture for
his four front teeth. He rarely wore it out
in public so I chose to change this and target it as the undesired
behavior. My positive reinforcement or
stimulus when he would wear his partial in public was to flirt with him and be
very affectionate for fifteen minutes.
When he would exhibit the undesired behavior I would ignore him for
fifteen minutes. This case study was
conducted over a period of six weeks on a daily basis.
The case study resulted in the subject (my husband) wearing
his partial 95% of the time as opposed to 28% at the beginning of the
experiment. To my surprise, our
relationship became enhanced over the period of the case study. A related article states how “Positive
reinforcement from one person led to positive reinforcement from the other”
At the completion of the experiment my husband was informed
of being the subject of an experiment and initially exhibited signs of
anger. However, shortly after being
informed, he showed gratitude to me by saying “thank you” and engaging in
further conversation of how we should use applied behavior analysis and
behavior modification more often since this method of modifying behavior is so
reliable. Now he asks for the reinforcement when placing his teeth in his mouth
prior to going outside.